A year ago I entered into the last year of my forties deciding to celebrate fifty by doing something new every month. It had to be something new to me. I called it my 12 Before 50 list. 


August was simple. We were going on a cruise to Alaska. I probably did enough new things on this trip to cover more than twelve. It was fun, but we learned I get seasick. I actually hugged the ground when we docked for the first time. Stepping off of the ship, I instantly felt relief. 
The wonderful medicine available to me at Guest Relations. It was a lifesaver. I'd considered jumping overboard before being handed these magic pills. 

Sunset at sea 

Spending time with my friend, Liz, was a highlight of the week
We hiked to the top of that mountain. Wayne, Eric, Liz, and me. 

It was beautiful

At the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau. One of the most beautiful places I've been. 

September brought an opportunity I'd missed the past few years. My friend, Sharon, has made it her goal to climb a tree on every continent. That in itself is a great goal, but factor in that she's a breast cancer survivor and you'll see what she's made of. 

I made sure I didn't miss my opportunity to climb a tree with Sharon. 
Sharon is at the very top. This group is a bunch of fun-loving pastor's wives. This was taken at our annual retreat. AKA - "the best weekend of the year".

Sharon took this picture of me from her vantage point. 


October gave me the chance to do something I'd wanted to do for years. To get a tattoo. 
My friend, Donna, another PW and I on our way to get this done

Fear of the unknown!

She got a scripture verse, which took a lot longer and hurt a lot more than mine

I got Jesus on my right hand. In my handwriting. It was something I'd wanted to do for
several years. It has opened doors to conversations that I never would have had without it.
It also helps me remember to be kind, always.

I don't have pictures for November. November I decided to get some moles removed from my face. No one needs to see pictures of that. 

They didn't leave successfully though. They came back and we tried to have them removed again in January but that just left me with smaller moles and a crater in my cheek.  #Fail


For December I wanted to keep it easy. There's so much going on in this month that I decided the simplest way to conquer something new was to read a book I'd never read. I chose The Princess Bride. It's a movie I've seen dozens of times. I'd always wanted to read the book but never had. 

I found an inexpensive copy on eBay and read it amid the holiday bustle. If you've only watched the film and haven't read the book I recommend it. It varies slightly. Well worth the reading. 


January was one I was really excited about. We drove to Bethlehem, PA to visit The Moravian Book Shop. The oldest continually-in-operation bookstore in the world. It's been in operation since sometime in the 1700's. The charm is all on the sign outside. Truly. It looks like a normal bookstore inside. What a disappointment this was. I think I've been more charmed by the bookish selection at the auctions I go to on a regular basis. This was a dud. 


For February I enlisted the help of a friend from our church. Michael McGuire, of McGuire Concepts, is a veteran who has many talents, one of which is chainsaw carving. Check out this bear he carved:
He mentioned something in passing about me doing a chainsaw carving and I couldn't let that opportunity pass. Wayne and I spent a cold afternoon at his workshop creating a little bear of my own. 

It was a great way to spend a day trying something new. He now schedules these experiences for others to do. Check out his Facebook page (linked above) to see how you can do this. I highly recommend it. 


I didn't have a plan for March, but Facebook came to the rescue. I entered a drawing and won a prize of my choice at Fox Chapel Iron Works. My prize was an item already made, a design of my own, or welding classes. Welding classes! Of course I chose the classes. Who doesn't want to play with six thousand degree metal? 

I figured after conquering the chainsaw (okay, I probably still can't turn one on by myself ha ha) that I should try my hand at other dude stuff because the girly stuff wasn't working so well for me (as we will see later on...)

Dave Beach was a fabulous instructor. My prize was for me only so we paid for Wayne to join me at the classes. We both learned a lot. And I was thrilled that week when I was reading a historical novel that mentioned acetylene gas, the same gas we used in welding class! I yelled out while reading, "Hey! I know what that is!" I was alone in the house and no one heard my glee but the dog, but still.

Welding Wayne. I couldn't take a picture of myself. 

Just look at those weld lines 

Our defining moments, cell phone holders that we made 

Welding was very fun. I enjoyed it. 


April was a surprise for my husband and a girly fail for me. I got hair extensions. 

Here's me before 

Here's me after 

After washing - no product on my hair 

Wayne taking them out, one by one, with pliers. 

They were beaded into my hair a little section at a time and looked amazing. It was the hair I should have been born with. The company that made it had just come out with wavy extensions which were perfect for me since I have a natural wave. All was fine except that they hurt. Like, really hurt. I've given birth. I lived through shingles. I know pain and this was right up there. I couldn't sleep because these little beads all over my head....I had welts. Very painful. Then I washed my hair. Oh. My. Gosh. I had to lean against the shower wall and cry when the water weighed the hair down, pulling on my already painful scalp. 

But that wasn't the worst part. The worst part was how they looked after washing. They straightened and lightened. They looked hideous. I had to get them out, so #DateDay was spent with Wayne using pliers on my head. How many wives get to say that?


May was something I'm not ready to let the world in on, let's just say it was something I wanted for a while and I got it. In about fifteen minutes. 


For June I didn't want to spend a lot of money. I just wasn't feeling it. I decided to do something at home that I've wanted to do for a while but never took the time. Bagels. We made bagels!

They were surprisingly easy to make. I found an everything bagel recipe online and followed it. They could have probably baked an extra few minutes, but they were very good. I'm looking to do this again sometime. But this time....I will not store everything bagels in a container with a plastic lid. The smell did not come out of the lid and I thought for sure there was a dead mouse in the storage room. It smelled like death. We tore the room apart looking for the rodent I was sure was in there, but it was only the lid. I had to let it sit in the sun for a few days to get rid of the odor. 

Super easy to make everything bagels when you use this seasoning from Trader Joe's. Yes, I cheated, but whatever. 

Bagel sandwiches for dinner that night! 


For July I wanted something that was random. I found a place in State College where they do ax throwing. 

We got some friends and went ax throwing. I mean, who doesn't want to do that? What we learned is that I'm the worst of us four. If someone breaks into my house and all I have to defend myself is an ax I will not break any skin. I might knock them out with the side of it, but they will not bleed. That will be good for my carpet though.

It was fun. I'm not good at it. And I was sore for two days. But it was fun.

In all, I had a great year trying new things. Some bombed and some were surprisingly fun. 

I'd do it all again.

Except for the painful things. 


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